Rangers make qualifying offer to Josh Hamilton

Rangers make qualifying offer to Josh Hamilton

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) The Texas Rangers made a $13.3 million qualifying offer Friday to Josh Hamilton, ensuring them draft-pick compensation if the slugger signs with another team.

It was an expected move by the Rangers, who are sure Hamilton won't accept the one-year offer. That doesn't change the offseason plan for both, with the 2010 AL MVP exploring free agency and likely to discuss the possibility of a new deal with Texas.

The Rangers didn't make qualifying offers to All-Star catcher Mike Napoli or five other free agents.

General manager Jon Daniels said there is mutual interest in Napoli returning for a third season with Texas. Talks will continue with his agents, but the Rangers weren't willing to commit $13.3 million to Napoli, who made $9.4 million this year when he hit .227 with 24 homers and 56 RBIs in 108 games.

``We'd like to have Nap back, but at the predetermined figure we weren't comfortable there,'' Daniels said. ``We're going to continue to talk and the door's very much open.''

The fixed $13.3 million is the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players in baseball by average annual value.

Texas didn't make offers to right-handers Mike Adams, Scott Feldman, Mark Lowe, Yoshinori Tateyama or Koji Uehara. The team can still negotiate with those players, but would receive no compensation if they left for other teams.

Hamilton hit a career-high 43 homers and drove in 128 runs this season, his fifth in Texas. He batted .285 despite a two-month slump in the middle of the season, and is one of the top free agents on the market.

Hamilton and other players who got qualifying offers have until next Friday to accept them. Assuming that Hamilton rejects it, the Rangers will receive an extra selection immediately following the first round of next June's amateur draft if he signs somewhere else.

``If Josh were to accept that - there should be no chance of that realistically if you're him, it's actually a cut of what he made,'' Daniels said. ``It's an easy decision to offer. It doesn't preclude us from continuing to talk.''

The Rangers and Hamilton put contract negotiations on hold earlier this year with the expectation that the outfielder would test the free-agent market.

During a conference call with reporters, Daniels said the Rangers would be focused on catching and the bullpen during the offseason. He then said the Rangers planned to put Alexi Ogando back in the starting rotation next spring.

Ogando was a 13-game winner and an All-Star in 2011 after making the transition from the bullpen to the rotation at the end of spring training that season because of injuries to others.

When the Rangers signed Yu Darvish and closer Joe Nathan last winter, and decided to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation, they moved Ogando back into a setup role and he had a 3.27 ERA in 58 appearances. Now, he will get another chance as a starter.

``He earned that a year ago and then some of the moves we made with Joe (Nathan) and how that affected Neftali and with Darvish, Alexi agreed to go back to the bullpen,'' Daniels said. ``I thought he handled that extremely well, team first. This guy's an All-Star starter in essentially his rookie debut in that role. He's a strike thrower and he wants to do that.''

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10 Questions in 10 days: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart


10 Questions in 10 days: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart

The Redskins top two linebackers rank among the most productive units in the NFL. When healthy, Mason Foster and Zach Brown are highly efficient tacklers. In fact, Brown led the league in tackles for most of 2017 before his season ended with a foot injury. 

The healthy part is the trick. 

Last year, Foster separated his shoulder against the Rams in Week 2 and was shut down for the season by October. Brown played through nagging injuries all year before shutting things down in December. 

When both players were on the field, the Redskins defense excelled. In just four starts, Foster made 30 tackles to go with an interception, a fumble recovery and half a sack. Brown logged double-digit tackles in nine games last season, and probably would have more without the foot trouble. 

Foster and Brown are very good in the Redskins scheme, and both players are expected to be fully healthy for the start of training camp. Their injuries from last season are not the type that suggest durability concerns, and both players posted full 16-game seasons in 2016.

Foster and Brown aren't the question. The depth chart after Foster and Brown are the question. 

Zach Vigil, Martrell Spaight, Josh Harvey-Clemons and rookie Shaun Dion Hamilton are competing for two or possibly three roster spots. 

Spaight is the most recognizable name in the group. He's been a good special teams player for Washington, and is well liked in the locker room. By last December, however, Vigil was playing better football. 

More telling for both Vigil and Spaight was that Harvey-Clemons took the starter reps alongside Foster when Brown was absent during OTAs. The second-year man out of Louisville has more physical gifts than either Vigil or Spaight, and now given a full year to learn to play linebacker, Harvey-Clemons could make inroads.

A safety in college, Harvey-Clemons can run. He was a bit of a surprise last season making the 53-man roster out of camp, so expect him to definitely have a shot this year. 

Hamilton will be the wild card. An ultra-talented player out of Alabama, he dealt with a number of injuries in college. Redskins VP Doug Williams talked gushingly about Hamilton after the draft, and if the former 5-Star recruit can stay healthy, he could certainly push for a spot as well. 

Prior to 2017, the Redskins kept four inside linebackers on their final 53 roster. In 2017, the team kept five: Brown, Foster, Spaight, Will Compton and Harvey-Clemons. Compton left via free agency and is now playing in Nashville. 

Foster and Brown are roster locks, and it seems like Harvey-Clemons gets the third nod. 

Spaight, Vigil and Hamilton better be ready for serious competition in Richmond. 



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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What does the future hold?


Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What does the future hold?

In this week's mailbag podcast, JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir answer several questions about the Caps' prospects and Hershey.

How does the future look on the farm? Plus, they talk about potential weaknesses, their biggest surprises and more!

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.